INDIE ROCK MUSIC Features

The last few months have made me realise how important music is to people – Live4ever’s interview with DMA’s

Posted on 03 Jul 2020 at 8:07am

When Oasis split in 2009 it was hard to escape the feeling that it would be temporary; the Gallaghers were famous after all for their fraternal strops and they’d recently made a partial return to form in Dig Out Your Soul. So, everyone waited. And waited. And waited.

For the people they left behind there was no ready made replacement. This wasn’t simply a case of turning to another band; in the likes of Wonderwall, Rock N’ Roll Star and Supersonic many saw and heard reflections of themselves, a connection which was far deeper than just music.

As time has passed however, new standard bearers for this under-served community emerged, groups and singers who’d developed largely outside of the industry’s ecosystem. Now, acts like The Courteeners, Blossoms and Gerry Cinnamon all sell out arenas and stadiums and yet remain largely unknown outside of what is almost an underground following, with by contrast what was once known as indie rock jagging sharply towards artier, less traditional landscapes during the last eighteen months.

Formed during 2012, DMA’s – a Sydney based trio made up of Tommy O’Dell, Matt Mason and Johnny Took – have emerged as another leading light in this anti-movement. Adopting a work ethic that you sense their fans would approve of, they’ve toured hard and let image be another band’s problem. With a belief in authenticity at their core, they’ve also made virtues of writing hooky, melody-strong tunes and doing shows which are about bubbling up with mates and temporarily forgetting the world outside.

As the release of their new album The Glow is finally on the horizon, Live4ever caught up with Tommy as we talked lockdown, their club-inspired new ideas and why Britain has taken them to their hearts.

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Hinds discuss the delay and evolution of new album The Prettiest Curse

Posted on 03 Jun 2020 at 7:40am

When Live4ever spoke to Hinds’ Ana Garcia Perrote at the end of April, the immediate effects of the coronavirus pandemic had been felt close to home: “My parents are both doctors,” she told us. “Ade’s (Martin, bassist) parents both got it and are both fine. Carlotta’s (co-vocalist and guitarist) mum got it, but she didn’t have any symptoms. It’s all good, but it was a lot to take in.”

Amidst this very personal turmoil, the band’s new album The Prettiest Curse felt the effects too, like so many given a later release date which will, finally, come around this Friday (June 5th). Although it was frustrating to delay the album’s release, it was an easy decision; “When we release albums, and for most other people, it’s a very exciting moment that you can celebrate and be happy about,” Perrote said. “A lot of work behind the scenes, which in this case has taken over a year, sees the light. It’s like your birthday party or something. Then, suddenly, it didn’t feel right to talk about it, because everyone was going through a lot. It was very scary.”

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In 2020 there’s always news, but at least there’s always Idles – a look ahead to the band’s third album

Posted on 30 May 2020 at 10:45am

Late in the Friday evening of April 18th, 1930, those in the UK with the sufficient inclination and technological means to sit around a wireless set and learn of the latest world events were greeted by something quite unusual: they were told, presumably in that clipped, BBC Queen’s English accent, that there was no news.

Instead, families now sporting presumably bemused faces were treated to some light piano tickling before they, presumably, stood for the national anthem, said their prayers and prepared for a pleasant weekend pottering around the garden.

It’s something that hasn’t happened since, and something we can safely assert will never happen again; almost exactly 50 years after there was no news, there was the launch of CNN in America. By the end of the eighties, Sky News had followed in the UK, in time for the Gulf War to forever cement 24-hour rolling news as an unavoidable, if not increasingly lamentable, aspect of modern life.

Even so, if there was ever a year that needed 24-hour rolling news, it’s 2020 – a year which had already managed to cram in a final Brexit, devastating bush fires and Trump showboating in Asia before a global pandemic shutdown life as we know it, taking with it lives and livelihoods along the way. In some parts of the world, it’s still only just getting started.

Back in the halcyon days of 2018, when Brexit and Trump were the most pressing shared concern in our lives, a band from Bristol were gearing up to succeed a debut album with which they’d built a fierce reputation and even fiercer devotion. Brutalism had shown that band, namely Idles, to be of a rare breed.

By taking personal stories and memories – whether it be growing up on a dead end street, having their outlook on life changed by a friend confiding mental health struggles, or family ties to the NHS – and wrapping them up in melody and chaos, these became unifying songs of a kind which anyone, anywhere, could search through and find something which spoke to their life too.

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Live4ever’s Best Of 2020: The Albums…So Far

Posted on 26 May 2020 at 7:39am

Nearly halfway there people. Nearly halfway through the annus horribilis to end all anni horribiles (googled the plural).

At least for music fans, during the utter s**tstorm that is 2020, artists have been ploughing through isolation, financial turmoil and postponed dates to deliver another selection box of unmissable albums to our front doors – here’s ten of the best we’ve featured on Live4ever so far…

Live4ever Interview: After a turbulent decade, Badly Drawn Boy returns with new album Banana Skin Shoes

Posted on 25 May 2020 at 7:06am

Damon Gough is in demand this sunny Wednesday afternoon.

England may still be in a sort of lockdown (based on the official advice, who knows), but our trans-Pennine phone call is one of many he’s taking, a fate he was long resigned to when operating as a one man band. “My mates (the platinum selling, Mercury nominated) Doves always ask me how I do it,” he mock laments good naturedly. “There’s three of them and they share the interviews around.”

Such, we agree, is an occupational hazard of the setup, but despite flitting between podcasts and endless chats with German media (‘I reckon this record is the only one being released over there this week’), he’s a happy man as the hullabaloo means that his solo venture Badly Drawn Boy is back.

It’s been eight years since Being Flynn – a movie starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore which was soundtracked by Gough – an age in music terms, but there were compelling reasons for the absence. Indeed, the singer is disarmingly open about them, preferring to tackle the break-up with his partner of fifteen years and mother of his oldest children, depression, alcoholism and struggles with Crohn’s disease head on, being refreshingly frank and without any hint of self-pity. Alongside this, he adds, in the background was the constantly building mental pressure to get back to resurrecting an on-hold career.

The picture now is brighter, the focus sharp. A successful period in rehab during 2015 came after he met his new partner; they now have a three-year-old son, and for the first time in nearly a decade there’s an excellent Badly Drawn Boy record, Banana Skin Shoes, ready to go.

Live4ever Interview: Lockdown with Tim Burgess – Twitter Listening Parties and new album I Love The New Sky

Posted on 13 May 2020 at 8:06am

Some people are gluttons for punishment.

Whilst a great number of us have been making the most of this free time, the world still turns in our absence, and musicians still have work to present. Tim Burgess is one such soul, and while his Twitter Listening Parties are taking up most of his time (more on those later, inevitably), his fifth solo album I Love The New Sky is released at the end of the month too.

It’s ostensibly a follow-up to 2018’s As I Was Now, but the two records couldn’t be more different. For one thing, their gestations had completely different lifespans; Burgess sat on the previous album for the best part of a decade, whereas the new one was recorded in just a year. “As I Was Now only took about five days and I released it unmixed,” Burgess tells Live4ever in an exclusive interview. “And some of it was unfinished, but I just felt it was a really nice release. It was a good story and a nice archival release for Record Store Day.”

Tim is talking to us after a couple of false starts; “I was going to speak with Live4ever at South By Southwest. That was the first thing that disappeared. It’s amazing though, we would have been talking about completely different things.”

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Live4ever’s Interview With Crispin Hunt, Part 2: Streaming, royalties and the #BrokenRecord campaign

Posted on 08 May 2020 at 7:00am

There are many bitter ironies about this new world we inhabit after COVID-19 entered our lives.

The saddest of all is, of course, that those best placed to treat the virus are those that have the greatest exposure to it, our NHS staff and care workers bravely soldier on (if you’ll forgive the disingenuous war analogy one more time), doing their best, which is all any of us can ask.

Further down musicians are, perhaps unsurprisingly, showing themselves to be increasingly creative. Live-streams on Instagram and Facebook were already commonplace, but in the last two months the rise in this content has been meteoric. The sight of artists in their own homes (fortunately not against a backdrop of educational tomes) has already become the most familiar one of 2020. This fascination surely peaked during the Global Citizen ‘gig’ as Elton John inadvertently provided memes for the rest of the year whilst The Rolling Stones, always the savviest cats in the game, decided that 50% of the band performing would suffice.

Every night Tim Burgess hosts listening parties on Twitter, Noel Gallagher and The Libertines (among others) are taking the opportunity to clear out their cupboards, releasing treats in the form of demos or live recordings. Radiohead have taken things even further, putting entire gigs from their career on YouTube.

For the Jaggers and the Gallaghers of this world, these are little more than (appreciated) gestures of good will. For those further down the food chain still, the situation is much more severe. Their main source of revenue has simply stopped, with no clarity as to when, or in some cases if, it will resume. An ever-evolving beast, the music industry has long been financed by live performances. Gone are the days when an artist or band could get by on record sales alone.

Despite the rebirth of vinyl, sales of the physical music product have fallen through the floor because of streaming services. For £10 per month or less, the consumer has access to virtually the entire recorded history of music. Unfortunately, owing to the antiquated contracts recording artists are bound to, the creators receive negligible financial reward in return.

Via Spotify, the market leader, an artist can expect to receive £0.0004 per stream. It takes 2,500 streams for them to earn £1 – figures, whilst more lucrative, that are comparable across the various streaming services. In early, April Tom Gray, a director of PRS, tweeted some comments and stats outlining this very problem. In summary, even before the pandemic, musicians were in trouble. Gray’s tweets made over a million impressions and has transformed a conversation into an awareness campaign: #BrokenRecord.

Crispin Hunt, now Chair of the British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers And Authors, knows better than most about the dire straits the industry is in. A long-time advocate of parity for songwriters, Hunt knows immediate action is required.

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Live4ever’s Interview With Crispin Hunt, Part 1: Longpigs, Britpop and the reissue of The Sun Is Often Out

Posted on 05 May 2020 at 8:11am

In part one of our interview with Crispin Hunt – one-time frontman of the Longpigs and current Chair of the Ivors Academy – we look back on the Britpop peak of the band upon the re-release of their debut album The Sun Is Often Out on June 5th…

Live4ever Presents: The Lounge Society

Posted on 22 Apr 2020 at 8:22am
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Music Will Save, Like It Always Does

Posted on 20 Mar 2020 at 10:07am

A lot of words are flying around at the moment, the main one being ‘unprecedented’.

Whilst being apposite, it also fails to do justice to the situation the world finds itself in. In the UK, despite the depressing outcome for much of us, the general election and then Brexit at least brought a certain amount of clarity and near-relief after three-and-a-half torturous years. Things were just starting to normalise, in as much as they could.

Now this. Now it turns out all that instability was just a starter to COVID-19. You’re all reading the news, changing every day, but to focus on all things music: one of the first warning shots was the postponement of Coachella, more serious the cancellation of SXSW. This in itself was a devastating blow: the festival is a showcase for newer artists and bands, many of whom rely heavily on the exposure and promotional opportunities it brings. But again, these were naught but teaser trailers.

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